Garden of the Gods:

Easter Sunday Services

The Easter Sunrise Services in the Garden of the Gods were begun by the Reverend Albert W. Luce in the early 1920's. The exact date of the first service remains unknown. An article in an old isuue of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph fixed the date at 16 April 1922. A later article in the Colorado Springs Free Press said it was 1916. Common consensus, however, suggests 1920.

For the first four or five years only two churches were represented at the Easter Sunrise Services: the Pikes Peak Christian Church and the First Christian Church. But true to Luce's tolerant ecumenical bent, the services soon became an interdnominational event to which all faiths were invited. The actual operation of the services was turned over to the Colorado Ministerial Alliance, and later to the Greater Colorado Springs Association of Evangelicals.

Easter Sunrise Services, 1930's

The number of people in attendance at the Easter Sunrise Services in the Garden swelled from a few hundred people in the 1920's to as many as 25,000 by mid-century. For a time the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce issued thousands of postcards bearing a color picture of the services the year before. These were distributed to area residents to send to friends across the country. The services were broadcast to millions more over CBS Radio, the Voice of America, and the Armed Forces Radio Network.

The numbers in attendance began to slowly dwindle as the decades passed, and the religious services were eventually discontinued in the early 21st century.

/pictures/whiteball.gif First Sunrise Service

/pictures/whiteball.gif Natural Easter Cathedral

/pictures/whiteball.gif Dr. Luce Proud of Way His Idea Has Grown

/pictures/whiteball.gif 8,500 greet Easter in Garden of Gods

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